Do agoraphobia and memory loss go together ? Several people have asked us about this. In general there is no reason for agoraphobia to be the cause of loss of memory, except as a side effect of prescribed anxiety medication.
If you are concerned that you are having memory issues the first potential cause to look at would be any medication you are on.
Paxil & Memory Loss
Sometimes people with anxiety may be prescribed anti-depressants such as Paxil or Celexa. These drugs are thought to cause mild memory loss in some patients. Celexa and memory loss have been linked together, but the evidence is not conclusive.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drug that is prescribed for anxiety and panic attacks. Some examples include Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Clonazepam.
The long-term use of benzodiazepines and withdrawal from them have been known to impair memory. If you take these drugs in large quantities or have taken them for a long period of time and are experiencing more forgetfulness than usual, it may quite well be related to your meds. Agoraphobia and memory loss is often more likely related to medication use. Again, it's not the actual condition of agoraphobia that causes this.
If you're worried about agoraphobia and memory loss, speak with your doctor. If it is indeed the medication, you can always try something else.
Other Causes of Memory Loss
If you are experiencing memory loss and have ruled out your medication as a cause, other possibilities include stress, age related forgetfulness, or other health issues such as vitamin B deficiency, anemia, depression, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, chronic infection, kidney or liver issues, or Alzheimer's disease.
Stress in fact is a very common cause of memory loss.
Sometimes memory issues are just related to not keeping our brains active. There are many new fun ways to keep our brains in shape. (scroll down on this page)
Forgetfulness versus Memory Loss
We are all forgetful at times, and many of us seem to get more forgetful with age. It is important to distinguish between mild and more serious memory issues.
Forgetting where you parked the car in a busy grocery store parking lot while very annoying, is something that we all experience from time to time. Forgetting where you put your house keys, glasses, cell phone or other item is also likely just an example of normal mild forgetfulness.
Experiencing black-outs where you cannot remember large periods of time, or have no memory of certain recent events, getting lost in your own neighbourhood, or not being able to remember what a common item (example a fork) is called or what function it has - is cause for concern. If you have agoraphobia and memory loss and have this sort of issues you should get checked out by your doctor. There are many ways to help with this.
Ways to Improve Memory
There are now medications and supplements available to help with memory loss, as well as various mental exercises and games available to help stay mentally sharp.
You have many choices to improve your memory. Speak to your doctor and explore the possibilities to improve your memory loss.
So remember, while it is not unknown to have agoraphobia and memory loss at the same time, anxiety disorders themselves generally don't cause memory loss though, it is usually a side effect of medication. Check with your doctor and see what can be done.
Ways To Keep Your Brain Active
So much recent research has shown that it is important to keep our brains active and challenged throughout our lives. Brains seem to be like muscles - if we don't keep them exercised they tend to weaken from lack of use.
There are many fun ways to keep your mind in shape. Here are some great ideas that you can use to help keep your brain in shape:
challenge a friend to a game of scrabble to keep the problem solving and linguistic centers in your brain firing
cross word puzzles
reading - newspapers, novels, magazines, non-fiction books are all good
social interaction - interacting with others involves many mental processes throughout your brain. Speaking on the phone, going for a walk with a friend, joining a club - all of these activities can be fun and help keep our minds sharp. Bonus - staying socially connected also helps prevent depression
exercise - exercising your body on a regular basis provides your brain with enough oxygen to function optimally
good diet - what is good for your body is usually good for your brain too - ensuring your diet is healthy will ensure you have enough of the basic chemicals and catalysts you need for efficient brain function, memory and mood stabilization
Sudoku - this is a fun problem solving puzzle
memory games - many board games and card games strengthen your memory
There are also a large number of cool electronic games out now that are designed to help keep our brains active. If you own a Wii, or PlayStation or other such electronic gadget they offer several fun games you can buy to play on these.